Little did he know, he was not only leaving his girlfriend behind, he was leaving their unborn daughter.
Via a blurry video link, there were emotions and tears Wednesday as 74-year-old Marie Robins saw a photo of her biological father for the first time in her life.
"This is incredible. It's my dad," said Robins.
The handsome sailor, Edwin Eustace, died in 1942 when the USS Juneau went down in the Pacific.
"I can't believe this is happening," said Robins.
On the other side of the link was Marie's extended family, who received the photos just minutes before after a 10-year quest to find out about Edwin.
In wartime Philadelphia, Dorothy Kalinowski and Edwin were sweethearts. He went off to sea, never knowing Dorothy was going to have a baby.
"They were each other's first loves. They loved each other very much," said Dorothy's granddaughter Becky Farrell.
Unmarried, Dorothy gave up the baby, Marie, for adoption. Dorothy later married and raised a family. In the 1970s, Marie reunited with Dorothy and became close with her kin.
But Edwin's family remained a mystery. On Tuesday, Becky Ferrell, using Facebook, sent out a picture of Edwin's sister, a yearbook photo, then a phone call. The sister, 95 years old, is alive and lives with a son in Arizona.
That son sent the photos the family had been searching for.
"It's so hard to process after all these years," said Robins.
There was much happiness in the house Wednesday. Dorothy, however, was not present. She was not feeling well. The hope is to share the photos with her Thursday.
"My grandmother's 92, and I know that this is one thing that she wanted before she left this Earth," said Farrell.
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